Journalists Seek Wiretap Immunity

Press representatives have demanded the Knesset add journalists to the list of professions that enjoy immunity from certain wiretaps, under a bill set to be debated today.

The journalists associations of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz have asked MK Menahem Ben-Sasson, chair of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, to make the Wiretap Law cover journalists, too.

Under the bill, if conversations with members of certain professions are tapped, the transcripts and tapes would be turned over to the judge who allowed the wiretap, and would not be used in investigations.

Currently, the list includes lawyers, doctors, psychologists and clergy. Today, the committee is set to discuss extending this immunity to social workers, too.

In a letter to Ben-Sasson, the attorneys representing Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz, Mibi Moser and Shira Brik-Haimovich, said wiretapping could be "a fatal blow to the functioning of the press in a democratic regime."

The head of the Tel Aviv Journalists Association, Yossi Bar-Moha, said wiretapping during a legal proceeding "negates journalistic immunity."